There is greater meaning to living a life of worship than singing or meeting once in a while at a gathering. There is so much more to worship. We are called to exalt Jesus not simply through a word spoken or a song sung, but by the giving of our lives.
We are called to be devoted to the Lord as living sacrifices, pure and holy. This is a part of true worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all…] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable…service and spiritual worship.”
(Romans 12:1 AMPC, emphasis added)
Making a decisive dedication is a lifetime choice of our free will. It is the devotion of all that we are and all that we have to the Lord. Thankfully, He first pours out His love upon us so that we long to do this because of love for Him. Every bridge is burned, every idol cast down. It is never looking back as we surrender our hearts and lives to our Bridegroom King.
In walking this out, we must prepare the way of the Lord within our hearts and our lives (Isaiah 40:3). It is firstly a call to a close relationship with the Lord. It is loving Him with all our souls, bodies, times and resources to reference the first and greatest commandment (Mark 12:30). We must allow no hindrance to our love for God rule us any longer; every obstacle must be moved out of the way.
“Go through, go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Cast up, cast up the highway! Gather out the stones. Lift up a standard… for the peoples.”
(Isaiah 62:10 AMPC)
As a worship leader, my greatest concern is that people will enjoy a good singing voice, song, or band, yet fail to connect with the Lord. My aim is not to sound pretty or provide musical entertainment, but to be a faithful, uncompromising messenger of the Lord. My heart longs for all to be in pursuit of an intimate relationship with Jesus. It is that we be a people set apart, His Bride living as His alone.
“A voice of one who cries: Prepare in the wilderness the way of the Lord [clear away the obstacles]; make straight & smooth in the desert a highway for our God!”
(Isaiah 40:3 AMPC)
We are alive to display the Father’s character in our own, and to release what is on the His heart and mind. At times, this involves convicting words that call others to yield themselves to Christ’s refining fire, which is not always easy going.
Fire consumes up anything in its path that can be consumed, yet it also purifies gold. In order to not be destroyed by it, you must become like it. In order to have lasting fruit in our lives, that fruit must reflect the heart of the Father. It is a good work, though a painful one that causes many to shrink back.
The Lord desires committed companionship, a union of loyal hearts. The Lord gives us His grace for this journey, but also yearns for our freedom from every idol, hindrance and chain.
These things hinder our communion with Him, and He paid the price for our freedom from sin; however, He leaves it up to us to make the decision to surrender day after day. Nonetheless, He is jealous over us with a godly jealous when we give ourselves to things above Him (2 Corinthians 11:2).
In a worship gathering or even in our homes, this translates into not merely singing a happy praise song or two and being satisfied, but committing ourselves to pursue holy lives before the Lord. It means that we do not tolerate anything coming before our relationship with Him. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we choose to honor Him. We allow God’s Holy Spirit to have His way in our hearts and lives to the fullest extent.
We have been given salvation not simply to be Christ’s acquaintances, but to be His pure and spotless Bride in intimate relationship with Him. Our call is to faithful devotion to our Maker and Husband, living in a way that declares this to the world.
We are His ambassadors, living for eternity and inviting others to join us, calling them to the Wedding of the Lamb that shall surely come.
“And the Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.“
(Revelation 22:17 NKJV)
“Wait and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing].
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy].”
(Isaiah 55:1-2 AMPC)